Memo to MSNBC: numerous Republican leaders speaking at "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties"


MSNBC's Contessa Brewer falsely suggested tea party organizers are excluding Republican elected officials or party leaders from speaking at the events. In fact, at least 15 elected GOP officials will reportedly speak, or have already spoken, at the protests, while another 33 will reportedly participate in the events.

During the April 15 edition of MSNBC Live, host Contessa Brewer stated that she had "just read[] in The Wall Street Journal" that Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele "had asked to speak at the tea party in Chicago today, and they told him, 'Nope. It's not for you; it's not for any leaders. It's for the Americans to stand up, and for the elected officials to listen to the American people.' " In fact, contrary to Brewer's suggestion that tea party organizers have taken the position that the events are not for people "to listen" to elected officials and are "not for any leaders," at least 15 current members of Congress or state governors will reportedly speak, or have already spoken, at the events. Another 33 Republican members of Congress will also reportedly participate in the tea parties.

In addition to former elected officials like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is scheduled to speak at a New York City tea party protest, at least 15 current GOP federal or statewide elected officials are reportedly scheduled to speak at tea party protests over the next several days, some of whom have been noted by Think Progress:

At least 33 other Republican lawmakers will reportedly participate in the tea parties. In addition to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), reported in an April 8 article that 28 other Republican House members not included in the previous list are "expected to participate in at least one anti-tax tea party, according to the Republican Study Committee." Participants include:

  • Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  • Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA)
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
  • Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)
  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)
  • Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
  • Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK)
  • Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
  • Rep. J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC)
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
  • Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
  • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
  • Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  • Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
  • Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
  • Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Former House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey -- the group that "launch[ed]" the "nationwide 'tea party' tour" -- reportedly is attending a protest in Atlanta as well.

In addition, Brewer, unlike her MSNBC colleagues, did not mention that Fox News has been aggressively promoting the April 15 tea party protests. As Media Matters for America has documented, Fox News has repeatedly declared ownership over the events, labeling them "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties."

From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the April 15 edition of MSNBC Live:

BREWER: Thousands of people will hold so-called tea parties around the country. Check out a map that we have from Hundreds of tea parties planned in every single state. The idea is to protest high taxes and overspending by the U.S. government.

Chuck Todd is a chief White House correspondent, political director for NBC News. I know that a lot of people who are just hearing about these tea parties may think it's all right-wingers, but, you know, I know some people who are very middle-of-the-road, common-sense folks who think it sounds like a good idea. They don't want the government out blowing billions of dollars.

TODD: Well, there is sort of a couple of things, and that's what makes this, I think, protest very difficult, because on one hand the Republican Party is trying to use it as an organizing tool, is testing out some messages. But you're right, there are different messages that are appealing to different people, and this -- there is a bailout fatigue out there among a lot of Americans, both on the left and the right, who are upset about how the government is dealing with Wall Street.

And so, there is sort of that anger which is captured in part. But some of these tea parties are also trying to protest the Obama administration and are being organized by many arms of the conservative movement. And it'll be interesting to watch to see, can they see the gains and success in a social-networking, grassroots way that we saw with Barack Obama and his campaign team a couple years ago.

BREWER: Yeah, I was just reading in The Wall Street Journal that Michael Steele, the head of the RNC, wanted -- had asked to speak at the tea party in Chicago today, and they told him, "Nope. It's not for you; it's not for any leaders. It's for the Americans to stand up, and for the elected officials to listen to the American people." Any reaction here from the White House?

TODD: You know, they've been pretty muted about it. They, you know -- we'll see what they think of -- over here at Lafayette Park, right across the -- right across the way. There is a planned tea party or tea bag protest of sorts that's going to happen, but they've been pretty muted about it. I don't think they feel like it's caught the populist wildfire that I think the original organizers have, but we'll see.


TODD: I think turnout at these things will tell us whether, you know, it is -- will be a way of measuring, you know, what is the anger out there? What is the level -- what is the decibel level? And it's something to watch for all day.

Contessa Brewer
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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